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Agriculture: New Livestock Health Strategy for 2007

  • November 18th, 2006
  • Posted by EUEditor

livestock-resize-300.jpgEuropean authorities are claiming large-scale success in managing animal diseases since the development of a central control system.

This is being assisted by changes in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which impose standards of animal welfare as a condition of new direct payments for producers.

The European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, outlined steps towards a Community Animal Health Strategy for 2007-13, at a Brussels conference on 7.11.06.

He said existing joint controls for the European Union formed part of a “farm to fork” policy on food safety.

“Forty years ago, the European livestock industry was regularly hit by diseases for which member states were forced to apply restrictions which disrupted animal production and trade, and had a severe impact on farmers’ incomes.

“The harmonised Community animal health measures and systems of disease surveillance, diagnosis and control, have by now replaced national health regulations and have contributed greatly towards elimination or keeping animal diseases under control…

“By now, we have achieved a fully harmonised legal framework for live animals and animal products,” he said.

As an example, the European Union had taken “swift, decisive and proportionate” action to deal with the arrival of avian influenza H5N1, with its member countries co-operating closely.

A new system to begin next year would take account of changes:

• The enlargement of the EU to 27 countries;

• Diseases not known a decade ago, e.g. SARS, and persistent advance of other diseases including foot and mouth, avian flu and bluetongue;

• Expansion of the trading system with more movement of animal products;

• Changes in science and technology.

The Commissioner said there was a need to continue tightening border controls, specially to deal with illegal trade; and also to minimise live animal movements, while linking any movements with preventive measures against diseases.

He foreshadowed the publication of a discussion paper, a Communication of the European Commission, as a basis for the 2007-13 Strategy.

RECENT EXERCISES

Bulgaria and Romania

Additional European Union funds are to be used for monitoring, eradication and control of animal disease in the two countries due to join the EU next year, Bulgaria and Romania.

An extra EU 11.5-million (A$ 19.18; Decrates) will be available, in the context of special assistance to the two countries for meeting European Union standards generally.

More bluetongue outbreaks

New restriction areas have been created for bluetongue disease, blocking movements of animals, following fresh outbreaks in Sardinia and Portugal.

Last month the zone in Northern Europe was extended to include new areas in Germany and the Netherlands , (see EUAustralia, Moves on Cattle and Sheep Disease, 18.10.06).

It marked a run of 1600 reported outbreaks since the first case was reported in the region, in August.

The outbreak in Sardinia involves an exotic strain of the bluetongue virus (serotype 1), thought to have arrived from North Africa; a 20 kilometres zone has been set up around the outbreak site.

A reported case in Portugal is of a type seen there before and an existing control area has been extended to contain it.

Bluetongue is a non-contagious viral disease spread by biting midges, affecting all ruminants. It can cause large stock losses, together with losses from stillbirth and abortion, and high costs associated with regulation of the movement of animals.

Reference:

Kyprianou M., Towards a new Community Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013,SPEECH/06/662;Animal Health Conference, Brussels, 7.11.06

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